Brian Miller started Deathbomb Arc in 1998 to release music by a band called Turbine. As Miller once explained it, the group’s combination of rock guitars and electronic elements seemed radical enough at the time that there wasn’t much of a way forward in the music industry, so he decided to create his own lane.
Since then the LA-based record label has done justice to its Genres Unknown mantra, releasing music from the likes of Thurston Moore, Julia Holter, R. Stevie Moore, Death Grips, clipping., Abe Vigoda, and many more. Most recently Deathbomb foisted Baltimore hip-hop aggressor JPEGMAFIA’s tremendous Veteran on the world. And now, the label is ready to celebrate its 20th anniversary.
The new compilation False Positive Crew demonstrates what a wide/weird/wild spectrum of sounds Deathbomb is dealing with. In fact, it cranks up the label’s unique stylistic disposition to new extremes by aligning artists in Deathbomb’s orbit into a series of exciting collaborations.
The aforementioned JPEGMAFIA teams with GRYPT, True Neutral, and Shadi on “Vote With A Dollar (Tonight You Die Remix),” a harrowing experimental hip-hop death trip. Country singer Miguel Mendez and clipping.’s Jonathan Snipes team on the ambient synth-pop slow jam “Blowing Away.” On “Bigger Might Be Better,” Lil QT debates nudity versus “hiding in a sweater” and remarks “This song is so sexy!” while sparkling noise and percussive bombast from producer Nah validates the thought. Closing things out with some melancholy, dystopian digital R&B are Signor Benedick The Moor and Slowcoach, who wonder, quite reasonably, “How can we make love at a time like this?”
There is much more off-kilter goodness to behold, but first, let Miller himself elaborate on the Deathbomb ethos:
It’s not like every artist on Deathbomb all live in the same big house, constantly helping each other try on outfits, but definitely one of my favorite things about running this label is introducing people to each other and encouraging new ground to be discovered via collaboration. This openness to try new things and put aside egos is exactly why Deathbomb Arc has stumbled into some amazing sounds over the years. As silly as it may sound, our motto is sincere: Genres Unknown Since 1998. On this new 20 year anniversary posse comp we highlight this sense of wide open creativity. The album kicks off with a new project bringing together clipping.’s Jonathan Snipes and country musician Miguel Mendez. It also has a pile up from noise rappers JPEGMAFIA and Shadi, goth group GRYPT, and ex-Foot Village drummer True Neutral. There are plenty of other wild moments as well.
OK, time to listen to the comp. See you on the other side.
False Positive Crew: Deathbomb Arc 20 Year Anniversary is out 2/16 on Deathbomb Arc. Pre-order it here.